Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sunday Re-Run

Well, sorta.  But I'll add a lil sumthin' at the end.  From about three years ago:

Steam

Lotsa railroad talk going on over at Lou’s place today. So, in honor of that railroad thing… which is waaay cool, doncha know… here’s a lil two minute vid I shot of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic railway back in June, 2004. And the video IS little, literally. My camera (like most digital cameras these days) has video capability, but it’s very basic and the output is quite small in size and lacking in quality. But…it works, and this will give you some idea of what the C&TRR is all about. (I’ve posted about the C&TRR before.)

Just a brief aside… Being “of a certain age,” I can lay claim to have ridden as a paying passenger on a steam train. The year was 1968 and the place was Japan. I was en route to Wakkanai Air Station, which is on the extreme northern tip of Hokkaido, the northernmost of the Japanese Home Islands. The normal mode of transport up to Wakkanai was via “Scare America” from Yokota AB direct to Wakkanai. Fortunately for me, Air America was otherwise occupied at the time I had to get to Wakkanai, so the nice folks at Yokota scheduled me on commercial air from Haneda to Sapporo and via train from Sapporo to Wakkanai (there was no commercial air service into Wakkanai back then; there is now). Little did I know that I was going to ride a steam train…

My journey took place in the summer and it was spectacular. Hokkaido is a lot like New England when it comes to topography…mountainous, forested, and green, green, green. Summers are mild and winters brutal up that way, so it’s a very good thing my encounter with steam trains took place in the summer. The trip took about eight hours, if memory serves, and was further enhanced by the fact that one could open the windows up (wide! wide enough to receive repeated warnings from the conductor to quit hanging out of them...) and take in the air. Which was a mixed blessing…what with the cinders and smoke from the engine swirling in constantly. But Hey! That was part of the experience. And what an experience it was…
The first vid below was included with the 2007 post; the second has never been seen in public.  Both are cheesy (for reasons mentioned) and were shot long before I bought the Mino HD.  The woman in the vids is my ex-girlfriend.

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7 comments:

  1. Great videos! Even starring The Green Hornet and a cocker spaniel!

    There appears to be significantly less global-warming fodder in the second.

    I love trains.

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  2. re: Global Warming Fodder... this is kinda related: There's a small electric powered two-man rail-truck following the train about a half mile behind. The rail truck tows a 200 gallon (or so) water tank to deal with any fires caused by errant cinders. No doubt mandated by some freakin' federal agency...

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  3. Steam engines. A symbol of a simpler (better?) time.

    Nice videos, btw! As a mild train buff, I enjoyed them.

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  4. A blast from the past on the train post! I haven't watched the videos yet since the GGs are here and are watching "Alvin and the Chipmunks." But I will get to it soon.

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  5. A little different for me, was when I was a kid in the early 60's my dad would take all the neighborhood kids along to go see the Steam Tractor display every summer. My dad and his dad actually had a steam tractor in the 20's for their farm. Us kids were creatures of 300 HP engines and automatic transmissions, and even still, this is a memory that sticks with me. Steam is just awesome, and gasoline seems like cheating after that, ha.

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  6. BR: Thanks. And yeah, it was both a simpler AND better time.

    Dan: Me too!

    Lou: You've already seen one of 'em.

    Anon: When I was stationed up in NoDak/Montana the Old Farts used to have an annual threshing bee featuring those huge old monsters... and some of 'em are REALLY monsters, weighing TONS. I used to wonder how in the Hell they navigated the fields in the way-back... especially during a wet Spring.

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